How to do Fashion Week with a Baby

London Fashion Week with a Baby

With my 9 weeks old daughter, Ayame, strapped on me with a sling, Fashion Week this season was very special and a completely new experience.  As Ayame’s first Fashion Week, we only attend a few exclusive events and presentations instead of going to shows which can be very hectic at times.  I was also slightly worried about being constantly on the move with her, but luckily, she seemed to enjoy being around the buzz and basically slept through most events (it was the best background noise for her nap times)!

The highlight of our Fashion Week has to be the Aspinal presentation which had transformed their flagship store into an English garden.  With walls of flowers greeting us from the entrance, Ayame was mesmerised by the vivid colours of their new collection handbags and loved meeting new people.  As a die hard Strictly lover, I also turned into a total fan girl when I saw Bruno Tonioli there!  This Fashion Week has definitely been a memorable experience and I can’t wait to take Ayame to the next one in September! xxx

Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby Fashion Week with a new born baby

Why the Stokke Xplory is the Best Pushchair for London

The Stokke Xplory is So Right for the City

With Ayame now over 9 weeks old, I thought it was a good time for me to post about my experience using the Stokke Xplory pushchair.  I have been using the Xplory since day 1 and I have to say, it has been one of the best decisions I have made so far with baby products.  Pushchairs are such an important and big ticket item to get and I did some extensive research on which one to buy.  There are a lot of discussions and forums on this as well, but for me, the main reason why I decided to go with Stokke is maneuverabilityfunctionality and design (of course!).   So, I wanted to break these components down as to why I think the Xplory is the best pushchair especially for London and anyone living in cities.

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Maneuverability – It’s So Easy to Push the Stokke Around Town!

Living in London, I knew from even before Ayame arrived that maneuverability was going to be one of the key components for the ideal pushchair.  Let’s face it, London roads are horrendous with cobble stones, multiple levels and bumps due to never ending road works and lots and lots of people to contend with.  I knew that whichever pram I chose, I needed one that is easily pushable with good steering control.  I’m also not the strongest of mummies (literally zero arm and upper body muscles!) so I wanted one that is light weight.

The best advice I got was to try out multiple prams at various department stores and baby stores.  I must have tried a dozen different kind of pushchairs and I have to say this is so key!  What I thought was going to be the one for me turned out to be so not right so I’m so glad I tested the top contenders out before I decided on one.   The Stokke Xplory was definitely by far, the easiest pram to push around and maneuver corners.  I think this makes sense given that the Xplory has been specifically designed by the Norwegian brand for city life.  It’s also got 360 two wheel functions that makes swiveling around and maneuvering through millions of people (especially around Oxford Street during New Years sales) and tight spaces incredibly easy.

I am also a really active person and get jittery when I’m cooped up at home for days on end so I wanted a pushchair that would make me want to go out.  And I have to say, the lightness of the Xplory has definitely been a god sent!  I didn’t realise this until Ayame was born, but London is seriously not a step free city with many places unreachable with wheels.  This is especially the case for traveling on the underground.  London tube stations (even the main ones like King’s Cross and Victoria) are not pram friendly with many platforms and exists only accessible by stairs or by an extremely convoluted way via lifts at the other end of the station.  People are usually really nice and help me get up stairs whenever necessary, but there has been times when I have had to try and get pushchair up by myself.  On these occasions, I really felt like the Xplory delivered.  It’s sturdy enough to deal with some banging around but light enough for me to carry its weight up some steps (the trick ladies, is to roll the wheels up the stairs backwards).

 

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Functionality – Connection with my Baby

One key thing to check before you decide on a pram is whether it is compatible as your baby grows.  For example, there is no point getting a Rolls Royce of a pram if it can’t be used once the baby is older.  I think the Xplory is going to be perfect as Ayame grows up.   At the moment, we are using the Xplory Carry Cot as she is still a newborn (this is an additional option so be sure to get this if you are a new parent to be!), but once she is a little older, I am really looking forward to the various seat positions that the Xplory provides.  There are 3 parent facing positions (sleep, rest and active) and 2 forward facing positions (rest and active) which I think provides the necessary variations and adaptability for each unique situation.  I am especially looking forward to raising the stroller seat higher as this should be a great way to connect with Ayame once she’s older.  Even in the Xplory Carry Cot, I really feel like we have great interaction as the cot is perfectly placed to meet my eyesight.  Being able to talk to her whilst we walk around town has been such a great experience for me.

The arrival of Ayame has definitely led to adjustments in our life, but at the same time, I think it is really important that where possible, you keep your lifestyle so that your looking after yourself as well.  A happy mummy means a happy baby!  For us, this has meant that whenever possible, going out for dinners at night and brunching at cafes during the day.   So, we have been taking Ayame in the Xplory to a lot of restaurants (seriously, don’t be afraid to take the pram with you as most restaurants accommodate for pushchairs).  Ayame is quite a social girl and I think she really likes to feel like she is involved in our conversations so I love how the Xplory fits in small spaces and is at table height.  I think the Xplory will be absolutely perfect once we can use the active seats when she is older as well.

 

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Design – It’s so Chic!

The design of the pushchair was definitely going to be a key component for me.   As the main mode of transporting a baby, the pram literally is like an additional body part which goes everywhere with you.  I therefore knew that whichever pram I decided had to have a design which I liked.  The Scandinavian design aesthetic of the Stokke Xplory really resonated with me.  I love how it comes in so many different colours and seat kits (like its winter kit complete with insulating canopy and sheepskin trim) which makes the Xplory so versatile and perfect for ever season and weather.  To fit with the London architecture, I decided to go for the pram with the silver chassis (they come in silver and black) in the grey melange colour.

Stokke as a brand also focuses on designing products which are ergonomic and comfortable.  I really think this is such a n important philosophy for baby products so I can’t endorse their products enough!  I also have Stokke’s high chair so will be talking about this in another post soon!

So, for all of the above reasons, I think the Stokke Xplory is the perfect pushchair for London!

Check out the Stokke Xplory here!

Styling My Looks with Magnum Double Ice Cream

Dare to Go Double

Summer is my favourite season of all in London. As the sun comes out, London transforms into a beautiful city where people seem to be happier and where so many exciting new events seem to be taking place. I also think London becomes even more magical when people are eating ice cream and personally, hearing the tune from the ice cream van always makes my heart skip a beat.

I truly believe there is something mystic about ice creams. No matter how bad or awful a day you are having, ice creams have the ability to lift your spirits up and make your day 100% better. So I was beyond excited to hear about Magnum’s launch of two new flavours for the summer, the Magnum Double range. The exciting new flavours come in Double Raspberry and Double Coconut. I have been trying both ice creams from the Magnum Double range since their launch and have come up with style looks to compliment the two flavours.

Magnum Double Coconut Ice CreamMagnum x Moschino Bag Magnum Double Coconut Ice Cream

Double Raspberry

Magnum’s Double Raspberry is a smooth raspberry ice cream dipped in chocolatey coating, luscious raspberry sauce and Magnum Classic chocolate. It is a divine and indulgent summer treat!

The Double Raspberry is quite punchy with a very luscious raspberry sauce so I think this flavour is perfect for when you are in need of a pick me up to continue through the day. My Double Raspberry look is styled with my favourite boyfriend jeans and a pastel pink blouse, which compliments the colour of the ice cream. I think this look is casual yet chic – perfect for lounging around in your flat or running errands around town.

Magnum Double Raspberry Ice cream Magnum Double Raspberry Ice Cream

Double Coconut

The Double Coconut, which is a velvety smooth coconut ice cream dipped in chocolatey coating and a layer of luscious chocolate sauce, covered in cracking Magnum chocolate. Talk about mouth-watering deliciousness!

I think the Double Coconut has a softer flavour with a very rich, yet smooth coconut ice cream and so my look for this flavour is a girly white lace dress ensemble.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my looks and which flavour you prefer! I love both flavours, but I think the Double Coconut is my preference as the coconut reminds me of tropical getaways and blissful summer days.

Magnum Double Coconut Ice Cream Magnum Double Coconut Ice Cream

Magnum x Moschino

I’m sure you’ve heard already, but Magnum has also been working with Jeremy Scott and Moschino to release a special edition bag capsule Magnum x Moschino. I’ve been wearing the pink bag all around town as it is such a fun and whimsical addition to my wardrobe!

Magnum x Moschino Bag Magnum x Moschino Bag

The Alpina Gstaad

A Luxury Boutique Hotel in the Alps

Gstaad, Switzerland | A Preferred Hotel

With a panoramic train ride from Montreux easing us into life at the quintessentially Swiss mountain resort of Gstaad, I knew my stay at the Alpina Gstaad was going to be memorable.  Designed in a classic chalet style with a mix of traditional and contemporary Swiss interiors (including a vast collection of notable art), the Alpina Gstaad is the epitome of discreet Alpine luxury.  Each space within the hotel incorporates woodwork expertly crafted by regional artisans to create a chic and inspiring atmosphere.

As I settled into my room with a balcony overlooking Gstaad’s panoramic views, it was quiet evident that the Alpina Gstaad was going to be one of those places where I can completely relax and recharge.  With only 56 rooms and suites, the hotel is an oasis where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and concentrate on yourself with the magnificent Bernese Alps as your backdrop.

Filling my stay with activities all centered around wellbeing, it felt as though my days blended into one restful memory.   The Alpine experience provided by the Alpina Gstaad was simply beyond all my expectations.

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Recharge Your Senses  at The Alpina Gstaad

As a world famous ski resort, ascending upon this exclusive Swiss resort in the summer months might be an unexpected choice for some.  However, with unspoiled Alpine areas and spectacular views of luscious greens, a summer stay at the Alpina Gstaad might just be a life changing experience for some.

Summer at the Alpina Gstaad is all about finding serenity and recharging your senses.  With the Six Senses Spa at the heart of the hotel offering world renowned treatments designed to indulge your senses (including treatments incorporating Tibetan healing methods), summer at the Alpina Gstaad is truly a sanctuary away from home.  For anyone wanting to get away from the stresses of everyday life, be sure to take advantage of the personalised wellness programmes that can be tailored made for your entire stay by considering your lifestyle related concerns and wellbeing goals.

You can also take advantage of the outdoor pool (set at a soothing temperature of somewhere between mid 20 and 30 degrees) and soak up the Alpine sun or indulge yourself at the indoor pool complete with spa facilities which include a jacuzzi, sauna, flotation room,  hammam, salt room and twelve treatment rooms.

Alpina Gstaad, Preferred HotelsAlpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels

Dining at The Alpina Gstaad

If gastronomy is high on your list of expectations from a great standout hotel, then you are at the right place.  With two Michelin starred restaurants, Sommet and MEGU, the Alpina Gstaad is sure to satisfy your culinary desires.

Orchestrated by Michelin starred chef, Martin Göschel, Sommet boasts an unique menu which pays tribute to exceptional produce of the Swiss Alps.  With wellness at the center of its menu concept, each plate is presented as a base vegetarian dish which can then be enhanced, if desired, with a selection of meat options.  The tasting menu is a must try and with a superb offering of wines (including 400 rare vintage bottles hand picked by the head sommelier), each course can be perfectly matched with complimentary wine.

As the first Japanese restaurant to arrive in Gstaad, MEGU boasts a contemporary, yet authentic menu which is an exciting addition to the Alpina Gstaad.  Headed by Takumi Murase and Tsutomu Kugota, both trained at MEGU in New York, the restaurant presents dynamic Japanese dishes that takes you on a culinary journey and exploration of traditional and unique ingredients from Japan.  If you decide to go for a selection of seasonal sushi and sashimi, be sure to order some sake – including some special rarities imported exclusively by the Alpina Gstaad.

The Alpina Gstaad houses some cosy dining options as well such as the rustic Swiss Stübli where you can enjoy traditional Swiss raclette and fondue.  But for the ultimate indulgence, I highly recommend the Alpina Gstaad’s room service, particularly for breakfast.  With balconies and terraces overlooking the Swiss Alps attached to your room, breakfast ‘in bed’ is not only spectacular but completely relaxing.

Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred HotelsAlpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels

Take a Trip Outdoors

Take advantage of the Alpina Gstaad’s great outdoors as well by participating in yoga and meditation classes set in the hotel’s grounds.  Or, if you fancy venturing off the resort, spend a day at Arnensee Lake which is about a half hour drive from the Alpina Gstaad.  There, try out some water sports like paddle boarding and enjoy the most delicious barbecue prepared by the hotel whilst gazing at the sun setting beyond the mountain terrain.

Alpina Gstaad, Preferred HotelsAlpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels

A Panoramic Journey to The Alpina Gstaad

To complete your journey to and from Alpina Gstaad, I highly recommend taking the The GoldenPass Line train  route with its base in Montreux.  The tourist oriented route takes passengers aboard a traditional train with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps – a perfect way to start and end your stay at the Alpina Gstaad.

Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels

Thank you to the Alpina Gstaad and Preferred Hotels for a wonderful stay!

For more information, visit Alpina Gstaad’s website here.

My Big News! Announcing My Pregnancy

Mariko Kuo pregnancy Mariko Kuo pregnancyMariko Kuo pregnancyMariko Kuo pregnancy Mariko Kuo pregnancy Mariko Kuo pregnancy Mariko Kuo pregnancy Mariko Kuo pregnancy

There’s been some big news that I’ve been wanting to share.  About 4 and a half months ago, I found out that I was pregnant!  After weeks of what I thought was a mild stomach flew, it suddenly dawned on me one night at dinner that maybe, just maybe, there might be some other reason behind my constant nausea.  We both looked at each other and thought, nah, can’t be.  But as soon as we got home, the first thing I did was to rummage through our bathroom cupboard for that stick.  After what felt like eternity, my heart thumping and a cold sweat forming on my forehead, the result was pretty conclusive. The plus mark was clearly visible!

We had discussed this a few months back and decided that it might be nice to start trying.  I could not think of anything more special than being able to add a mini-us to our little family with him.  I don’t think either of us actually thought that I would however, get pregnant so quickly.  To be honest, as I’ve had some health issues in the past, I thought this might take at least a year and potentially require multiple rounds of IVF.  So as the realisation slowly dawned on us, I have to say, I was slightly unprepared for the news, but definitely elated and relieved at how lucky we were.

I am proud to announce that I am now 20 weeks preggers and starting to feel the baby’s light thumps and wiggles.  I could have announced a lot sooner, but after reading up on ‘how and when to announce’, I felt that I wanted to keep this between me and my partner for a little longer.  Being 5 months, I’ve had the chance to do some initial research and feel like I can confidently share my experience with you and other fellow mothers-to-be.

So from this point onwards, stay tuned for baby updates and my thoughts on being pregnant!

PS: these photographs were taken by my baby daddy in Ibiza as the sun set over the horizon.  I could not be happier to be able to share these moments with him.   The fact that he took them makes these photographs even more special.

Photographed by Baby Daddy in Ibiza, Spain

Spring Blush Tones

Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat

Wool cashmere boyfriend coat | Jaeger , Jumper | Gestuz
Serpenti handbag | Bvlgari , Ankle boots | Acne Studios

Photographed by Moeez Ali

One Suit, Two Cities | New York

HOW I WORE MY GESTUZ SUIT IN TWO CITIES

Soho, New York

My second installment from my One Suit, Two Cities editorial is brought to you from New York.  Shot in the bustling streets of Soho, I’ve matched my Gestuz Cori blazer and wide leg trousers with a pin striped blue shirt and a sexy lace bra (embracing the underwear as outerwear trend!).  As a more structured look compared to my London look, I think this look is perfect for the edgy streets of New York.

Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New YorkMariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New YorkMariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York Mariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New YorkMariko Kuo in Gestuz suit in Soho New York

Cori blazer | Gestuz , Cori wide trousers | Gestuz

Striped shirt | Zara , Chrystalle lace bra | Wacoal

Mini cross body bag | Furla

 

One Suit, Two Cities

How I wore my Gestuz Suit in Two Cities

Big Ben, London

As you know, I’m a die hard suit advocate.  Whether as workwear or occasion wear, suits are my go to combo that I think makes quite the sartorial statement.  I always try and find a new suit combination every season and the Gestuz Cori blazer and wide leg trousers have been my ‘It’ suit ever since I spotted them.  With navy pinstripes and a laid back feel, this suit has been the ultimate versatile look for 2017.  To show you how much I love this look, I’ve shot it in two of my favourite cities in the world, London (of course!) and New York.  I didn’t think one post would do this look justice so the One Suit, Two Cities editorial will be split into two blog posts.

I hope you like the two ways I’ve dressed this suit in the two cities.  For the London look, I just had to shoot with the most quintessentially London backdrop, Big Ben.  The London look itself is more of a statement look to wear to a big occasion.  Instead of a dress, I think this suit is androgynous, but by cinching in the wait with a belt, this look manages to maintain some femininity  (I hope!).

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Mariko Kuo at Big Ben in Gestuz suit

Cori blazer | Gestuz , Cori wide trousers | Gestuz

Handbag | Bulgari , Belt | The Fold London , Ring | Aamaya by Priyanka , Boots | Acne Studios

Photographed by Moeez Tali